TripAdvisor adds Hyatt to instant booking
Since February, TripAdvisor’s market cap has soared 38.4% to $13.4 billion. Investment analysts have largely credited this to its rollout of instant booking for hotels.
About a third of its ecommerce-enabled hotel listings can now be booked instantly, without visitors leaving the TripAdvisor user experience or having to visit a supplier or third-party website.
In the past three months, the company added Hyatt, one of the top ten largest global hotel chains, to its new direct booking tool, its CEO Steven Kaufer revealed today during an investor call for its second quarter earnings report.
Earlier this quarter, TripAdvisor said it was adding Marriott to its new direct booking option.
The roll out will be slow. Some Hyatt hotels are visible, but no Marriotts yet. Every chain that has signed up has wanted their content instantly bookable on all platforms, but the company faces technical hurdles to achieving that.
The addition of Hyatt may signal a turning point for instant booking, which aims to position TripAdvisor as an OTA-lite, or a cheaper booking option than intermediaries such as Expedia and Booking.com for hotels to use.
Kuafer said he is in discussion with a variety of hotel chains and groups, and that it is “working with six out of the ten top global hotel chains” — which were left unnamed.
“I don’t want to set expectations that we’ll get all the rest of the top ten globals within the next quarter. Some chains move faster than others….
Unlike an OTA, if Hotel A is not directly connected with us in instant book, I still have all of their properties through an OTA like [TripAdvisor-owned online travel agency] Tingo or GetARoom or many of our other OTA partners.
So we still have the ability to do an instant booking with those folks. The margin may not be as good to us when we go through the intermediary but we can still offer that service. Or choose not to enable instant book on that property, and consumers can still have full metasearch experience….
Thanks to these intermediaries, there are now 235,000 properties available via instant booking, or about a third of the e-commerce-enabled properties on its platform. Kaufer said:
“I don’t want to set expectations that once we get 10 out of 10 we would roll out instant booking everywhere. That’s not at all how I think about the equation.”
TripAdvisor has not done enough testing yet to know if having the hotel chain’s brand name in the instant book button performs differently for conversions than a generic “Book with TripAdvisor” button, the company says.
Kaufer says TripAdvisor is exploring “new vehicles” by which to push the subscriptions-based Business Listings product out. He says it is “underpentrated in the market,” and that it has:
“quite a few plans going forward to deepen our relationship with the individual hotelier that is not just based around instant book but is also around all the different ways for them to take advantage of TripAdvisor traffic.”